Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer
Grand Palladium's engineers, Smith Warner International, are seeking to allay fears that construction of an additional 805 rooms in Point, Hanover, might have any devastating effect on the environment.
Smith Warner is seeking approval from the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), in order to reform the beach that the new sections of the Hanover resort now sit on.
"This marks the beginning of the much anticipated expansion of the Grand Palladium," said Dimitris Kosvogiannis, Fiesta's Jamaica representative.
Kosvogiannis was presenting the NEPA-required Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) last week at the Rusea's High School in the parish.
Although there was a noticeable absence of a substantial number of people from the community, Kosvogiannis said the residents welcomed the much touted expansion.
This is the latest project by the Spanish group, Fiesta. The project is valued at US$250 million. The chain has unveiled a massive plan to construct 245 luxurious ocean side Royal Suites and 550 "extraordinarily" large suites.
However, part of the plan for these suites includes the construction of two more pocket beaches and a boardwalk connecting the existing cove beach to the new areas.
"Currently, a narrow beach exists for each of these areas, however the foreshore is quite rocky and/or covered with seagrass," explained Dr David Warner of Smith Warner International.
The challenge he said was creating a proper swimming beach at each of these locations, requiring a wider and deeper beach coupled with a sandy foreshore that would allow guests to walk out and swim.
Warner and his team have presented eight different concepts aimed at reforming the beach to NEPA.